FPGA Programming

Using Zynq Programmable Logic and Xilinx tools to create custom board configurations

FPGA Programming

Postby mabdinur85 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:23 am

Hi I'm new and wanted to start several small scale projects with the Epiphany and Parallela board. I am more interested in the FPGA Hardware Co-design aspect with this system for now before I move to the multi-core epiphany co-processor/ accelerator.

With the Parallela systems can I reprogram the FPGA without it defecting the board? I believe the board manual indicates the FPGA is already programmed with HDMI, eLink, AXI-M/S, etc... But beyond those components can I still add like a soft processor that is accessible; also is the system real-time reconfigurable (seems like Zynq Chips are run-time Reconfigurable according to XILINX)?

I also want to purchase the 5 board setup along with that 3rd party stacking enclosure to make the so called mini-supercomputer for research purposes but I just want to know what are the limitations of such a setup? Can I program all FPGA's through like a single JTAG or each has to be individually flashed? Does it have to be the embedded version or the desktop version is fine? Can I access the stacked epiphany accelerators, the arm processors and the FPGA's through the bus?

Sorry for the newbie questions but this seems like a promising multi-core setup and it can be greatly enhanced by the likes of a Reconfigurable OS that can utilize the FPGA as an adaptive accelerator alongside the Epiphany chip.

Thank you all for the help
mabdinur85
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:00 am

Re: FPGA Programming

Postby sebraa » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:12 pm

mabdinur85 wrote:With the Parallela systems can I reprogram the FPGA without it defecting the board?
If you are careful about pin contraints, then yes. There is an empty project with the correct restraints available (search the forum).

mabdinur85 wrote:I believe the board manual indicates the FPGA is already programmed with HDMI, eLink, AXI-M/S, etc...
The FPGA bitstream is loaded at boot time from the SD card. Directly after power-up, it is not programmed at all.

mabdinur85 wrote:But beyond those components can I still add like a soft processor that is accessible; also is the system real-time reconfigurable (seems like Zynq Chips are run-time Reconfigurable according to XILINX)?
If there is sufficient space in the FPGA, adding a softcore should be possible. Changing the bitstream from inside a running Linux is reported to work. However, when reconfiguring, you need to make sure to not confuse attached hardware (i.e. reconfiguring the FPGA while in the middle of an eLink transaction will probably lead to problems). I am not sure whether this counts as real-time configurability.

mabdinur85 wrote:Can I program all FPGA's through like a single JTAG or each has to be individually flashed?
As far as I know, five boards in a cluster configuration are just five boards with a common power supply. So it is easier to treat them as five separate boards. But again, you can reprogram the FPGAs from inside Linux (after the system has booted).

mabdinur85 wrote:Does it have to be the embedded version or the desktop version is fine?
There are no major hardware differences between Parallella versions, apart from the FPGA chip, and some supporting circuitry for the external connectors. To do serious FPGA stuff, choose boards with a Zynq 7020. They all have Ethernet, so you can SSH in and be done.

mabdinur85 wrote:Can I access the stacked epiphany accelerators, the arm processors and the FPGA's through the bus?
Which bus? The Epiphany only has an eLink interface, which you need to implement inside the FPGA. For the connection between FPGA and ARM cores, look at the Xilinx data sheets.

mabdinur85 wrote:Thank you all for the help
You're welcome. Hope this helps.
sebraa
 
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:54 pm

Re: FPGA Programming

Postby mabdinur85 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:46 am

Thanks again you have been most helpful.
mabdinur85
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:00 am


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